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RE: Dromornithids and size limits.
Jaime A. Headden wrote:
However, parrots and turacos are birds that are effectively three-legged
climbers, in that they use >their beaks to manipulate and clamb with.
So do young hoatzins, effectively making them five-legged climbers.
The Japanese shearwater has been observed climbing trunks with the aid of
Eric Martichuski wrote:
Effectively, yes. But are they _effective_ climbers?
Not sure they need to be, since they can fly.
Meanwhile, while the Killer Bird has one predatory appendage, the
sabretooth, or other predator has _three_. A lion leaping up to claw and
bite as the hindquarters of its fleeing prey has a better chance of staying
attached than a phorusrhacoid would with its single, albeit wickedly
hooked, anchor into the prey's flesh.
Phorusrhacoids and other predatory birds also use their feet as predatory
instruments. Quite effectively in most cases.
I say nothing against the marvelous talents of birds. They rule the skies
with an awesome diversity and fecundity. I merely say that, having
specialized to such an amazing degree, they pay the price of finding it
more difficult to de-specialize and find something else. They are, in a
In ornithothoracine birds, the forelimbs do seem "stuck" in a locomotory
function (usually air or water). However, the wings of the phorurhacoid
_Titanis walleri_ may have reverted to some predatory function, but I'm not
sure what. Perhaps they were used as claspers for holding prey,
tyrannosaurid-style. Many modern birds use their wings in intraspecific
combat, and have spurs or clubs for this purpose; these birds tend to weak
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